Sol Mercado, Expected To Shine At Globalport
Solomon Mercado has accepted the reality that he won’t be part of Meralco when the PBA Commissioner’s Cup opens on February 8.
Even after leading the Bolts to the no. 4 seed going into the Philippine Cup quarterfinals, the best the franchise had reached thus far, Mercado was shipped out of Meralco as the team began its rebuilding phase anew under coach Ryan Gregorio.
Said Mercado: “Everybody was shocked. As a team, we felt we were just one big man away from making it to the Finals. We were having fun. We finished in the top four and then we lost to the Alaska Aces in the playoffs because we had no big man to match up against Sonny Thoss.”
The 6’2″ Mercado did everything he could to lead the shorter Bolts in the All-Filipino conference as he led the league in scoring (19.1 points) and assists (6.7 dimes) in 16 games.
His best, however, was spoiled in the best-of-three quarterfinals, especially as he played through a sprained ankle against a souped-up Alaska five, which dominated the Bolts on both ends of the floor.
Despite the sudden trade to Globalport, where he’ll be joined by Meralco teammates Kelly Nabong, JP Belencion and seldom-used Yousef Aljamal, Mercado was grateful to Gregorio, to the Bolts coaching staff and his teammates for helping him grow as a pro.
For sure, Mercado, 28, will see his star shine further with the Batang Pier, as he provides the court leadership and gung-ho attitude the young franchise needs to make it to the league’s upper echelon.